Princeton Capital Blog

How to Ready Your Walls for Paint or Paper

March 28th, 2012

Brian Santos, The Wall Wizard, gives this advice:

1. Clean the surface. Buy a 90-percent pure solution of rubbing alcohol and a self-wringing sponge mop with a scrubbing strip. Put a half gallon into a bucket and scrub the walls with an up-and-down motion. Wring the mop into an empty bucket so the solution isn’t contaminated.

Rubbing alcohol will remove dirt, fingerprints, cooking grease, nicotine stains and crayon.

2. Smooth the surface. Darken the room and put a halogen work light ($15) on the floor next to the wall. Use a wall board sanding strip to remove anything that shows up.

To fill any depression, use a vinyl surfacing compound and a drywall knife to smooth it out.

Tap in nail heads and use the compound to fill the holes and depressions made by hammer strikes.

3. Apply the first coat. Use a sealer over any remaining stains, mold, mildew, and porous surfaces, such as unpainted plaster or drywall and large areas of joint compound or patching plaster. Use a primer on all other surfaces.

If the top coat will be paint, have the primer tinted to match the finish color so you don’t have to apply a second coat.

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